Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, visited the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) on Monday 7 July to announce the first ever Local Growth Deal with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. The Growth Deal will see £86 million being invested in local projects, including £4.5 milion to help Bristol become a world-class leader in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), Biosciences, Health Science and related high-tech sectors.
Part of a wider University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) project (one of only four in the country), and located at UWE's Frenchay Campus, the UEZ will provide essential start-up and grow-on space for technology and knowledge-based businesses, and include support from Bristol Robotics Laboratory, one of the most innovative academic robotic technology centres in the country, with whom Bristol Health Partners enjoys close links.
Led by UWE in partnership with the University of Bristol, with support from South Gloucestershire Council, the University of Bath and the West of England Academic Health Science Network, the 4,000 square metre UEZ will provide laboratory space, offices and workshops, shared start-up 'studio' space, and communal areas for networking and meetings. It will also bring together business, academic expertise and networks in the two universities and the wider city-region, and provide access to specialist equipment and technical support.
The UEZ is expected to generate over 500 new jobs and more than £50 million for the local economy, as it becomes a key resource for growing the Bristol and Bath Technology Cluster and promoting university-business links. Professor Chris Melhuish, Director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, commented: "We are looking forward to the opportunity of developing home grown medical technology solutions and addressing some of the challenges faced by the region's clinicians. Bristol Health Partners is a great conduit for making this happen."